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blessed in the times of the Old Testament, in that vith of Numbers they said, “ The Lord cause his face for to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee and give thee
the Lord bless thee, and keep thee.” Verses 24, 25, 26. Which the apostle Paul expounding, in the 2nd Cor. the xiiith chapter and the 14th verse, renders it thus :
of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen." The Lord bless thee, the Lord cause his face to shine upon you; the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you: three times; the Lord, the Lord, the Lord; noting the Trinity; which the apostle here explains by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. “ Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Seeing of God, is a blessing out of the mouth of Christ, a gospel blessing. And what is it for a man to see God? In the phrase of the Old Testament, the Hebrew, to see, is ordinarily used for to enjoy. In the ivth Psalm. 6 Who will shew us any good ?” The word in the Hebrew is, Who will make us to see any good ? that is to enjoy good. So then, to see God, it is to enjoy him. When Jacob enjoyed God, he saw him; and the place it was called, Peniel ; for he had seen the Lord, and there the Lord blessed him. There is no seeing of God but in Christ. And therefore I say, that herein consists the blessing of the gospel, in a supernatural, and spiritual enjoyment of God in Christ, the favour and love of God in Christ.
Again, it consists also, in the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost in our hearts: the giving out of the Holy Ghost unto the hearts of men. And therefore it is added in that place of the Corinthians; “ And the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” That must needs be the great blessing of the gospel, and so of Christ; that is the thing promised in the gospel. What is that? If we look into the ist chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and the 4th verse, it is said there of the disciples, " That they should wait for the promise of the Father." Christ commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father. What is that? We know what it was, and is, that which befel afterward; it was the giving out of the Holy Ghost: the Holy Ghost fell upon them, and this
is called “ The promise of the Father.” That as in the times of the Old Testament, the promise was, the giving of the Son, and coming of the second person : so after Christ came, the great promise was, the coming of the third person, and the giving of the Holy Ghost. “When I am gone (saith Christ) I will send ye another Comforter. He that believeth, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” This he spake concerning the Spirit, which was not yet given, in those extraordinary emanations of gifts and graces, because he was not yet glorified. So then, the great blessing that was to be given unto the children of men, the great gospel blessing, was the giving out of the Holy Ghost: this is a gospel blessing indeed.
Well, but what doth Christ do, when he doth bless ?
It is observable, that when any superior did bless; a father did bless his child, or the like ; he did observe what was the choice mercy, and good in those times, and he did wish that unto his child, or unto his inferior. And so in Isaac, and Jacob's time; the choice good was the dew of heaven: and when they did bless their children, they wished unto them the dew of heaven. So now, when our Lord Jesus, our great High Priest, doth bless any man; observing that the choice mercy of the gospel is the enjoyment of God in Christ, the favour and love of God, and the giving out of the Holy Ghost into a man's heart; he doth wish all this good unto him, and he says unto God the Father: Lord, let this poor soul have thy favour; Oh! cause thy face to shine upon this poor soul, and give out the Holy Ghost unto it that it may walk after the Spirit.
In the second place, it is observable, that when the priests did bless the people, they did not barely wish good unto them, but they did authoritatively pronounce them blessed. “ They shall put my name upon them, saith the Lord, when they bless," Num. vi. 27. So when the Lord Christ, our great High Priest, doth bless a man, he does not barely wish him good, the Lord cause his face for to shine upon
that soul in a way of wishing : but the Lord Christ being a High Priest when he blesseth, he doth authoritatively pronounce such a soul to be blessed.
Thirdly, When the priest blessed, he did not only pronounce the people blessed : but in the blessing of the priest
there was a kind of binding power; it had the power, force, and efficacy of an absolution. And, therefore, as Christ says unto his disciples, “Go, and whosoever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted :" I will stand by you in it. So saith the Lord in that same place, the vith of Numbers, “On this wise shall ye bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord bless thee and keep thee.” And at the 27th verse, “They shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.” I will stand by them in this. So when the Lord Jesus Christ, our great High Priest doth bless, he doth not only pronounce a man to be blessed, but he doth absolve him from all his sins: and, saith he, by authority that is given to me from my Father, the keys that are put into my hand, I do bind this blessing upon this poor soul.
Further, The priest when he blessed, indeed he could wish well, and he could pronounce a man blessed, and he might absolve, but he could go no further, he could not confer the blessing, he could not bestow the blessing : but our Lord Christ, being an High Priest beyond all the high priests that ever were before him in this respect too, where he doth bless, he bestoweth the blessing, being God and man, he bestoweth the blessing.
In the fifth place, This our great High Priest, being God and man; look how God blesseth, so doth he bless. In the Scripture ye shall find, that when God the Father blessed, he said unto those things that he blessed, Increase and multiply: still when he blessed, Increase and multiply. So the Lord Jesus Christ our High Priest, when he comes to bless, he doth not barely wish good unto a poor soul, or pronounce him blessed, or bestow a good thing upon him ; but saith he, O soul, multiply in this good; the Lord increase thy graces, and thy gifts, and thy comforts ; poor soul, increase and multiply herein. This the Lord Christ our great High Priest doth. Thus it is clear what the blessing of the gospel is, wherein it consists, and what our High Priest doth when he doth bless the people.
But, secondly, Does this blessing properly or specially belong unto Jesus Christ?
Yes, for he was made a curse for sin, he and none else made a curse for sin ; and, therefore, it belongs unto him above all the world for to bless. For look what evil Jesus
Christ endured, the contrary good he merited for the children of men, a power to bestow that good. Now he above all was cursed, hung upon the cross, and died a cursed death, he was made a curse; therefore it belongs unto him above all for to give the blessing, for to bless poor sinners. Primum in quolibet genere, &c. The first in every kind is the cause of the rest. The sun is the cause of all the light we have here below, and it is the first light body. And the Lord Jesus Christ, he is the first blessing: therefore hath thy God blessed thee for ever. There are three that we read of in Scripture especially that did bless : the father, the king, and the priest : the father did bless his children, the king blessed his subjects, and the priest blessed the people. Now the Lord Jesus Christ he is our Father, “The everlasting Father:" he is our King, “I will set my King upon my holy hill:" and he is our great High Priest; and therefore all these relations meeting in him, it belongs unto him above all for to bless the people.
But, thirdly, is the Lord Jesus Christ willing for to bless poor sinners and inclined unto it?
Yes, he is very willing: this blessing of the people, it is a work whereunto he is much inclined, and wherein he is most delighted. Ye shall observe therefore, what abundance of blessings Christ scattered among the people when he was here upon the earth. Ye do not read that ever he cursed any man, formally cursed him. Once, indeed, he pronounced a curse, but it fell upon a barren fig-tree, not upon a man.
But take your Bibles and turn over from leaf to leaf, and see how frequent he was in blessing; and consider whether you do read in all the Bible of any preacher or prophet that ever in the way of their preaching pronounced so many blessings as Christ did ? He begins blessing, “Blessed are the poor;” and “Blessed are those that mourn;" and “Blessed are those that hunger and thirst;" and "Blessed are those that are persecuted for my name's sake. Blessed are those that hear the word of God and keep it. He took little children into his arms and blessed them." Do but mark in all the gospel, how frequent Christ was in blessing, never in cursing ; more frequent in blessing, than ever any preacher was in all his sermons. What is the reason of this? Because this work of blessing the people is a work wherein the Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest, is much delighted, a work whereunto he is most inclined.
Well, fourthly, but doth he do it?
Yes, he doth do it, and doth it fully. The same place that I named will prove it, the ist of the Ephesians, and the 3rd verse,
“ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Not only meritoriously, but by the hand of Christ. And, saith he, he hath done it, with all spiritual blessings, and he hath done it by Jesus Christ.
You will say, We do not see that men are thus blessed by Christ; for where Christ blesseth, he doth not only wish well and good unto a man, but he bestoweth it; yea, he doth not only bestow good, but he doth increase and multiply: but upon this account, how few are there in the world that are blessed by Christ!
For answer, It is a hard thing, sometimes, unto a Christian for to discern this blessing of Christ. Ye can see the boughs, fruit, body, bark of a tree; but if ye will see the root, ye must dig and take pains for to see it: it is an easy thing to see the leaves, &c., but if you would see the root, ye must dig and take pains for it. This blessing of Jesus Christ it is the root of all; and if you will see this, you must dig and take pains to see it, it does not lie open to every one's view. The Lord Jesus Christ, our High Priest, does not bless as man blesses, and so his blessing is very much hidden from our eyes; he does not bless as we do, he does not bless as the world does : if the world sees a rich man, it pronounces him blessed: O! there is a blessed man, and there is a happy man! what an excellent dwelling hath he, how healthful! his table is spread, &c. The world blesses rich men, pronounces them happy and blessed. But our Lord Jesus Christ, he does as Jacob did when Joseph brought his two sons to Jacob to be blessed by him; he set Ephraim the younger at the left hand of Jacob, and he set Manasseh the elder at the right hand of Jacob, that Jacob might give the right hand blessing to the elder, and the left hand blessing to the younger : but when Joseph had set them thus before Jacob, Jacob crosses hands, and he turns the right hand blessing to the younger. So two men are brought before Christ, a rich man, it may be, and a poor man, and in the eye of the world, the rich man must carry the blessing: O! but our Lord Christ, he crosses hands, and he lays the blessing upon the younger brother